EDITOR’S NOTEBOOK: Analog for a day

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analog

It all just sort of happened.

We had an event in Durham on Sunday, and my sister-in-law has a small corporate apartment just outside the Raleigh Beltway that she only uses on weeknights. One of our kids is technically an adult, and all of them are too lazy to get into any real trouble.

So we found ourselves packing to drive to Raleigh on Saturday morning for a quick overnight, followed by a shot to Durham and then home before dinner on Sunday night.

Before we left. I looked longingly at my home workspace.

“Are we going to leave our computers at home?” I asked my wife.

My wife runs her own business, requiring near-constant attention, as well as maintaining all the various household accounts. I myself have been so immersed in work for the last… 15 years?… that it hadn’t occurred to me until that moment to leave my laptop behind.

Since 2004, I have never traveled without my laptop tethering me to the world of work.

We looked at each other scandalously in that moment. And then we came to it at the same time: Yes! We would leave our laptops behind!

And then we scampered out the door before we changed our minds, giggling like we were ditching class to go skinny dipping.

Let me tell you where I am in my life: I spent 24 hours in a corporate apartment in an office park just outside the Beltway, with a courtyard pool, a gym, a coffee machine in the lobby that made more than a dozen kinds of hot and cold drinks, a pool table and absolutely no cell-phone reception, neither voice nor data. No emails. No Facebook. No texts or calls. No news alerts. I couldn’t even play games on my phone, and every photo would have to be a Latergram.

We had no choice but to disengage — but also to engage… with each other, the hot sun blinking off the dappled surface of the pool and the slow shadows that wound from one side of the courtyard to the other.

We went analog for a day, leaving no digital footprints behind, like it never even happened.